Lights, camera, alumnus: graduate produces original film

While enrolled in a screen writing class at Elon University, Peyton Lea thought of the plot and characters of a feature film.

The 2010 graduate and Charlotte native is now self-employed and has started his own production company. Finally, he is able to develop the idea he dreamed up years earlier.

Lea wrote a script for a new movie he is directing, which is yet to be named.

“It’s a 90-page script,” Lea said. “I am going to direct it and produce it as well. We are going to begin shooting roughly around the month of April, and it will most likely be an August premiere.”

Now out of college for almost two years, Lea has plans to handle the production of his film himself.

The film will be shot in Charlotte, and Lea will have casting calls there as well as in New York and Winston-Salem.

The film is about Tom learning to deal with life and facing his demons of that corporate world and routine, while allowing him to put his guard down, and let April change him for the better.

“The movie is about a 30-year-old down-on-life watch salesman who works for Movado Watch Company in New Jersey and is forced by his boss to come to Charlotte for a three-day Watch Sales Convention,” Lea said.

“(The main character) Tom is kind of a bummer. And the whole corporate routine life has gotten him down on life,” Lea said. “He is not thrilled about coming down to Charlotte because he has some preconceptions about what the South is and what Charlotte is going to be like, and they’re not positive.”

Lea explained that his classes at Elon not only helped him develop the small comedic idea into a full-length feature film, but also taught him about production, which allowed him to fully develop the creative aspects of his film.

“(Tom) comes to Charlotte, and the trip is going as miserable as he thought it would,” Lea said. “His trip gets turned around when he meets April, the bartender who works in the lobby of his hotel.”

Lea explained that the script is really more about how two people can have an impact on each other’s lives and how it can happen in such a short amount of time.

“April is kind of opposite of Tom and has a zest for life,” he said. “The film is about Tom learning to deal with life and facing his demons of that corporate world and routine, while allowing him to put his guard down, and let April change him for the better.”

Lea said he is excited for the opportunity to have his film out and ready in August. He said the most promising part of the process is the support he has received from friends.

“The fact that people I have not seen in a year, or maybe a good family friend, has just been contributing money is just so great to see,” he said.  “A lot of friends who are my age who I know don’t have that much money are donating and I know they want to see me succeed. That is what is really cool.”

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